Sunday, 6 March 2011

This week's word is: RHYL

The way a library should be...
Hello dragon fans.  Most of you will know that this has been a very special week in the literary calendar.  It was World Book Day last Thursday and many authors, our hero included, were out and about celebrating the wonder of books.  The author has visited many different places on this day in the past.  This year he found himself on the North Wales coast, in the seaside town of Rhyl.  (A place he used to visit on holiday as a boy.)  Now Rhyl is not generally regarded as a centre of literary excellence in the same way that the city of Oxford might be, for instance, but it has children, and it has readers and it also has a brilliant, newly-refurbished library.  Check out the pictures.  This is the way a library should be.  Comfortable and well-designed, with the books attractively presented.  It was a joy for us to be there.  And we spotted two Welsh dragons at the seafront! Hrrr!

Annoyingly NOT open!
It's been a busy week, what with visits to a sales conference in Basingstoke, Shaftesbury School in Dorset and Cheltenham College in, erm, Cheltenham.  All of which were great fun.  But it is very tiring, touring round the country, and the author was glad to be able to put his feet up at home this weekend.  Last night, we watched the coverage of World Book Night on the telly (well done, the BBC).  For those of you who don't know, the idea of World Book Night was that people would give away free copies of a number of pre-selected books to anyone they thought might like to read them.  The idea, of course, was to stimulate reading.  Many of the recipients that we saw filmed were readers already.  But the interesting thing was they were sometimes given books they would not normally have chosen to read.  And this reminded us of a personal and rather appropriate story.  It might surprise you to know that the author wasn't a great reader when he was young.  But at age 14 his head was turned by an influential teacher.  The author had been sent to his school library to serve a detention (yes, he sometimes got into trouble at school!).  The teacher in charge of detention that day made our hero read for an hour.  But, crucially, he wasn't allowed to read the book of his choice; he had to read the book his teacher chose for him.  That book was PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, by the famous English author Jane Austen. It was a period romance.  Hardly the sort of thing a young boy would go for.  The author not only read it, but liked it.  From that moment on he read lots of books.  Not a huge amount, but enough.  So if you were the lucky recipient of a free book on World Book Night make sure you read it.  It might change your life.  Until next time, happy reading. Hrrr!

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